Underground by Jean Ferris

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In 1839, visitors from miles around come to Kentucky to tour Mammoth Cave. But sixteen-year-old Charlotte, the maid at Mammoth Cave Hotel, doesn't understand its appeal. As a slave, she is already trapped, and she doesn't see the point in risking being trapped underground as well. Still, she's curious when Stephen Bishop, another slave who is the cave's expert guide and chief explorer, makes some big discoveries underground, and she's interested in Stephen himself, with his quick mind and kind ways. Then Charlotte makes a discovery of her own: runaway slaves sometimes come to the hotel seeking refuge. As she helps them, she wonders if she should run away. Stephen, on the other hand, feels that he belongs with the cave and that he is free enough when he is underground. When an opportunity presents itself, Charlotte must decide whether she should stay with Stephen or risk everything for her own chance at freedom.
In this compelling novel, two young people explore what sorts of freedom they can find, even as slaves.

About Jean Ferris

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JEAN FERRIS has written more than a dozen novels for young people, including the popular Marigold trilogy. Once Upon a Marigold was named an ALA Notable Children's Book, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and a New York Public Library 100 Books for Reading and Sharing title. Ms. Ferris lives in San Diego, California. Visit her website at www.jeanferris.com.
Published October 16, 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 176 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Nature & Wildlife, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Romance, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Underground

Kirkus Reviews

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In 1839, 16-year-old Charlotte Brown is sold by her owner in Tennessee to the proprietor of the Mammoth Cave Hotel in Kentucky, where she works as a maid.

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The New York Times

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By the novel’s conclusion, Elijah has found his way to a barn outside Detroit full of desperate runaways recaptured under the fugitive slave laws and has learned a terrible lesson about the hard-earned legacy of freedom — as Curtis writes, the “something inside so strong it flies forever.” As in ...

Nov 11 2007 | Read Full Review of Underground

Publishers Weekly

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Like the arduous journeys of the runaway slaves who Charlotte and Stephen help, Ferris's story moves slowly at times, picking its way through the daily struggles the slaves face even under relatively benign conditions.

Dec 03 2007 | Read Full Review of Underground

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